Entries in Lottery (58)


Powerball Jackpot Totals $320 Million

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just because your March Madness bracket is busted doesn't mean you should stop pressing your luck.

There's still time to purchase a ticket for Saturday night's Powerball lottery drawing and the chance to win $320 million.

An additional $60 million was added to the pot following a drawing on Wednesday when no one in the 44 states where tickets are sold had a winning ticket.

There is a 1 in 175,223,510 chance of winning the jackpot, according to the website of the Multi-State Lottery Association. But, there's a 1 in 31.85 chance that a ticket holder could win something, including the smallest prize of $4.

The pot is technically $320 million, but has a cash value after taxes of $193.8 million, according to the association.

Though sizable, Saturday night's pot pales in comparison with last year's $588 million Powerball jackpot.

The largest jackpot ever, totaling $656 million, was offered last March, when three people split the winnings from the Mega Millions lottery.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


How to Avoid Foreign Lottery Scams

USPS(NEW YORK) -- By any accounts Clifford Curtis is an intelligent man.  He completed high school at age 16, and later became an engineer and an attorney.

So his daughter Laura was shocked when she noticed a Western Union receipt indicating her 83-year old dad had wired some unknown person $3,000.

Curtis was sending the money to collect his lottery winnings.  At least that's what he thought.  He'd received calls telling him he had won a foreign lottery.  All he had to do was pay fees and taxes and the millions would be his.

The elderly Washington State man had fallen victim to an increasingly common scam.

"There is just no question that this is really massive, and it really hits older consumers," said C. Steven Baker, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Midwest Region.

The FTC estimates that Americans are losing $1 billion a year to foreign lottery scams.

The U.S. Postal Service is so concerned that it teamed up with AARP and this week sent out 25 million mailers to older Americans, warning them to be on guard.

"Jamaica is the latest hot spot," said Paul Krenn, Assistant Inspector-in-Charge for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

So many scam artists are promising unsuspected Americans that they've won the Jamaican lottery, that officials are warning don't even answer phone calls from Jamaica's 876 telephone prefix.

There have been victims in 21 states, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging, which will hold a hearing on this type of fraud next week.

"All foreign lotteries are scams," said Doug Shadel, a former fraud investigator who now heads ups AARP's Washington State office.  "It's illegal to participate in foreign lotteries, so that is the biggest red flag."  

He added, "Anytime anyone tells you you've won something and …you have to pay a fee, it's a scam, period."

Shadel says big losses are not uncommon: "We've seen people lose $300,000, $400,000.  And you might say to yourself, well they must be rich, so they can afford to lose that money.  No, that's ALL of their money."

The group has a nationwide Fraud Fighter Call Center (1-800-646-2283) for victims, or for those who want to question whether an solicitation they've received is fraudulent.

AARP says the most common victims of lottery scams are over age 70, often women, and with lower incomes and education levels.  Yet, as the Curtis case shows, it can happen to anyone.

"People think this only happens to dumb and senile people," said Baker.  "I can tell you that's not true."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Indiana Hairstylist Wins Lottery; Court Battle Follows

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Millions of Americans dream of winning the lottery.  An Indianapolis hairstylist says she did — and now she’s being hauled into court by seven of her friends.

Eight stylists from Lou’s Creative Styles salon in Indianapolis pitched into a pool for the Hoosier Lottery. The woman selected to purchase for the group says she also bought a number of tickets for herself. She won the $9.5 million jackpot with what she is claiming was her own ticket, separate from the pool.  The odds of winning the Hoosier Lotto Jackpot are one in roughly 12.2 million.

Now, the other seven stylists are trying to get their share of the jackpot. They have filed for a restraining order to freeze the jackpot, pending proof that the woman did in fact purchase her ticket independently. This will be the responsibility of a judge for Marion County, Indiana.

Attorney Scott Montross, who is representing the seven women told the Indianapolis Star that “We are concerned that the winning ticket may have been purchased with the group’s money… There’s a dispute about it, but until there is something more definitive, we were trying to keep a low profile.” Montross has not yet responded to an ABC News request for comment.

Jason Kurland, an attorney who has represented other lotto winners, said that issues like this should be avoidable “without question… It’s so easy,” he said. “It takes five minutes.” He suggests making copies of all tickets, emailing them to all participants, and making absolutely clear who is eligible for the jackpot.

“When you buy a ticket you dream about winning but you never actually think that you will,” he said. “You really have to treat it like, in this case, a $9.5 million transaction.”

In the meantime, $9.5 million remain in the hands of the Hoosier Lotto. Spokesman Al Larsen said, “We’ll just stand by and look forward to paying that prize at some moment… That’s all you can do.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Poisoned Lotto Winner's Widow Said She Has Proof of Her Estate Claim

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The widow of poisoned lottery winner Urooj Khan has presented documents purporting to show that most of Khan's estate belongs to her.

Al-Haroon Husain, an attorney for Khan's widow, Shabana Ansari, said Khan signed a document two months before his death, stating that his portion of his dry cleaning business would go to his wife if he died.

Signed May 2, this "operating agreement" presented to the probate court on Thursday indicates that two-thirds of Khan's estate would go to Ansari, Husain said. Khan reportedly did not have a will, Husain and Khan's siblings contend.

Ansari, 32, and Khan's siblings are in a legal dispute over Khan's assets, which include his winnings from a $1 million jackpot distributed in July.

A copy of the 38-page document provided to ABC News appears to show an agreement between Khan and his business partner, Mohammed Shaker, and included a clause that read: "Members shall transfer their interest to their respective spouse upon member's death."

Khan's brother said the agreement was "baseless and nonsense," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Why would he [sign an agreement] to transfer everything to his wife? Did he know that he was going to die? Did he know [someone] was going to kill him?" Imtiaz Khan told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Husain said he and Ansari discovered the clause in the document after the judge asked for an inventory of the estate.

"He can question it as much as he wants," Husain said of Khan's brother. "Mr. Khan and his business partner signed off on it. It's the operating agreement for their company. He may not like it but fortunately, the law is the law."

Khan, 46, was an immigrant from India who owned dry-cleaning businesses in Chicago. He was announced the winner of a million-dollar lottery jackpot in June and chose to take the lump sum payout amounting to $425,000 after taxes.

When he died on July 20 in Chicago, the medical examiner's office believed he had died of natural causes. It wasn't until after he was buried that a family member asked the office to conduct further tests. After examining fluid samples, the office found a lethal level of cyanide and Khan's death was declared a homicide.

The autopsy of Khan's body was conducted after his body was exhumed Jan. 18 from the Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago.

Dr. Stephen Cina, Cook County Chief Medical Examiner, said enough tissue samples were recovered from Khan's body to proceed with further testing. The samples taken included those from his hair, finger nails, stomach contents, and other solid organs.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office is trying to find more details about his death, such as whether the poison was inhaled, swallowed, or injected.

Khan's family said they were suspicious after he died. His  brother filed a petition last month to a judge asking Citibank to release information about Khan's assets to "ultimately ensure" that [Khan's] minor daughter from a prior marriage "receives her proper share."

Ansari may have tried to cash the jackpot check after Khan's death, according to court documents, which also showed Urooj Khan's family is questioning if the couple was ever even legally married.

Ansari, Urooj Khan's second wife, who still works at the couple's dry cleaning business, has insisted they were married legally.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Costco Co-Workers Split $50M Powerball Win

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(WALTHAM, Mass.) -- The Massachusetts Lottery confirmed two Costco co-workers are the winners of a $50 million Powerball prize.

According to lottery officials, 52-year-old Rosa DeLeon and 54-year-old Reginald LeBlanc, who work at the Costco in Waltham, Mass., bought the winning ticket to Wednesday’s jackpot.

The Boston Globe reports that over the past 10 months, DeLeon would regularly buy two Powerball tickets, write their names on the back, and give LeBlanc a copy.

On Thursday, her weekly purchases paid off.

The two appeared at a news conference at state lottery headquarters to accept a $33 million lump-sum payment, which comes to $23.1 million after taxes.

The winning ticket, sold at a Shell gas station in Lexington, Mass., had the numbers 8-10-25-36-44, and a Powerball of 28.

“About a year ago we sold a $1 million ticket. Not a $50 million, but still pretty good,” Shell store manager Adam Muise told ABC News.

Muise says LeBlanc came into his store this morning with the winning ticket, somewhat in shock.

“He walked in and he stood off to the side and didn’t really say anything,” Muise said. “We asked if he needed help with anything and continued to talk about someone winning, and he calmly said, ‘I won.’ He had a copy of the winning ticket.”

Muise said his fellow store workers congratulated LeBlanc, who said he was waiting for the friend with whom he was splitting the money.

The lucky store location, which sold a $1 million winning scratch-off ticket last year, will receive a $50,000 commission for selling the ticket.

“I hope that people feel that we’re lucky and come in and buy some lottery tickets and some more Powerball, and help our sales out over here,” Muise said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Powerball Comes to California

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Less than 24 hours after the winning Powerball lottery numbers were announced, California’s five-member lottery commission voted unanimously on Thursday to bring the Powerball jackpot to the state.

“We have to continually offer our loyal players a variety of entertaining lottery games, and we firmly believe that Powerball is a right fit for the California Lottery,” state lottery director Robert T. O’Neill said in a prepared statement. “I expect Powerball to add anywhere between 50 to 100 million additional dollars to supplement public education funding, which is our one and only mission. Plus, our customers were pretty clear that they wanted us to bring Powerball to California.”

Lottery spokesman Elias Dominguez told ABC News that the California Lottery Commission had been considering the move long before this month’s record $587 million jackpot.

“We’ve been discussing joining Powerball for over a year now,” said Dominguez. “But when Powerball went from $1 to $2, it put plans to join on hold.”

“We had to step back and see how it would affect sales for Powerball for other states,” he said.

Dominguez said the commission also had to consider how it would affect the state’s Mega Millions and Super Lotto Plus games.

California’s first Powerball sales will begin on April 8, 2013, with the first draw scheduled for April 10, 2013.

California will be the 43rd state to adopt Powerball.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Powerball Head: ‘I’m Not Much of a Gambler’

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- On Wednesday, one lucky Powerball player could go from rags to riches.  Meanwhile, the man who heads the lottery is thinking about what comes next.

Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, or MUSL, said Wednesday’s Powerball was the sixth game change, and they’re happy with the results so far.

“We knew we needed to do something a little different,” Strutt told ABC News.

One of the recent changes includes eliminating red ball numbers 36 through 39.

“Sorry if they were your favorite red ball numbers, but the game is now easier to win,” MUSL’s Powerball website says.  “The odds of hitting the jackpot drop from 1 in 195 million to 1 in 175 million.”

Strutt said his team goes through a myriad of ideas submitted by the 33 lottery member organizations across the country before they find the right one.  One of the flops included a variable price game, where as the price of the ticket went up, the check for the winnings also increased.

Strutt -- who joked he hadn’t learned his multiplication tables until he had been a journalist, a humor columnist and earned a law degree -- said predictive math showed this version “had the best chance of success” with customers.

Now, he is looking for something new to add to the game of fortune.

“That’s always the challenge,” Strutt said.  “Last year almost every lottery had a record year…It’s a big smile and it’s very happy to see a record year.”  

But he said he’s always thinking, “What am I going to do next year?”

For inspiration, Strutt looks to related industries.  That means hitting the casinos on the Las Vegas strip.  But Strutt said he enjoys the restaurants more than the betting on those business trips.

“Believe it or not, I’m really not much of a gambler,” he said.  “Drop $20 in a slot machine and just be amazed how fast it’s gone.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Powerball Jackpot at Record $425M and Growing

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The jackpot for Wednesday's Powerball drawing now stands at $425 million -- the richest Powerball pot ever -- and it's likely to get even sweeter.

"Back in January, we moved Powerball from being a $1 game to $2," says Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman for the Iowa lottery.  "We thought at the time that this would mean bigger and faster-growing jackpots."

And it's proved true.  The total, she says, "has been taking huge jumps -- another $100 million since Saturday."  (The most recent drawing, on Saturday night, produced no winning numbers.)

Until now, the biggest Powerball pot on record -- $365 million -- was won in 2006 by eight Lincoln, Neb., co-workers.

Lottery officials in Iowa, where Powerball is headquartered, have started getting phone calls from all around the world.

"When it gets this big," says Neubauer, "we start getting inquiries from Canada and Europe from people wanting to know if they can buy a ticket.  They ask if they can FedEx us the money."

The answer she has to give them, she says, is: "Sorry, no.  You have to buy a ticket in a member state from a licensed retail location."

Asked if there's anything players can do to improve their odds of winning, Neubauer says no -- apart from buying a ticket, of course.

Lottery officials put the odds of winning Wednesday's Powerball pot at one in 175 million, meaning you are 25 times more likely to win an Academy Award.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Winner of California Lottery Comes Forward After Five Months to Claim $23 Million

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(PALMDALE, Calif.) -- The lucky winner of California’s SuperLotto Plus Jackpot has finally come forward to claim her $23 million, just 25 days short of forfeiting the prize.

“We had our winner come forward and claim the $23 million prize,” confirmed California Lottery spokesperson Alex Traverso to ABC News. “She said she just never checked the ticket.”

The woman’s daughter snapped a photo of her mother in the newspaper Thursday morning — the photo was taken from the surveillance video at the store where the winning ticket was sold — and sent her the picture.

“When her daughter sent her mother a picture of the newspaper this morning, she just went back out to the car and the ticket was sitting right where she left it. Pretty amazing.”

The winner filed her claim Thursday and, according to officials, should be receiving her check in four to six weeks. However, it’s been a long five months for California Lottery officials who had been searching for the mystery winner, who purchased the winning ticket at Michael’s Market & Liquor in Palmdale, Calif.

Before the individual came forward, liquor store manager Ben Sadi told ABC News he remembers the day the woman bought the ticket.

“I know what she looked like and I recognize who she is,” said Liquor store manager Ben Sadi.

Sadi’s store opened on May 1, and four weeks later, on May 28, the winning ticket was pulled.

The ticket matched all six numbers – 14, 7, 26, 31, 23 and Mega 5. After the liquor store learned they had sold the winning ticket, they posted signs outside the store along with photos from surveillance of the alleged winner.

“We have signs outside that say, ‘The millionaire made here,’ with the check that she won, the $23 million,” he said.

Sadi’s store will receive a bonus of one half percent for selling the winning ticket, which amounts to $115,000.

“I was really really happy, really extremely happy. Our first store, we hit the lotto,” said Sadi.

If the money was not claimed by Nov. 26, 2012, the prize would have been transferred to California schools.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mystery Winner of $52 Million Lotto Comes Forward 

California Lottery released this image, taken from video, of the person they believed to be the winner of a $52 million MegaMillions jackpot. (California Lottery)(FREMONT, Calif.) -- The hunt for a mysterious lottery winner whose photo was released in an effort to find him this week is apparently over. The man has come forward to claim his prize in California.

California lottery officials said the man would be introduced at a press conference at 6 p.m. ET Friday. They earlier released a still shot of the man, dressed in a white T-shirt and sunglasses, buying the winning ticket at a Kwik Stop in Fremont, Calif.

The man is set to claim the $52 million prize from the July 27 drawing of the Mega Millions lottery, according to officials.

The mysterious winner had checked the winning ticket multiple times at Raley's and Safeway stores in the Bay Area, in Northern California, but had not officially come forward to claim the prize, according to the lottery commission.

Mega Millions winners have one year from the time of the drawing to claim their prize.

"The California Lottery truly believes that when a person buys a lottery ticket with the hope and prayer of changing their lives, we should do all we can to connect them with their winnings. We believe this effort will make a lot of Californians very happy," said Russ Lopez, deputy director of corporate communications for the lottery.

The California Lottery said it began sending out photos of all apparent winners of unclaimed prizes recently. In fiscal year 2011-2012, more than $20 million went unclaimed, it said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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